Joe Zaleski
Date of birth: (1927-03-19)March 19, 1927
Place of birth: New Kensington, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Date of death: September 10, 2016(2016-09-10) (aged 89)
Place of death: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Career information
CFL status: Import
Position(s): QB

Joseph John "Joe" Zaleski (March 19, 1927 – September 10, 2016) was a Canadian football player and coach.


Zaleski was born in New Kensington, Pennsylvania in 1927.[1] He attended the University of Dayton from 1948 to 1950, where he played on the football team as the starting quarterback for two years. The following years he served two years in the United States Marine Corps.[2] After signing with the Los Angeles Rams one season, without appearing in a game, Zaleski signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Western Interprovincial Football Union in 1952. He played there for two years as the backup quarterback and a defensive back, where he was regarded for his ball handling abilities. In 1955, he then signed with the Montreal Alouettes, where he played for one season as reserve quarterback. The following year, in May 1956, Zaleski moved to the Ontario Rugby Football Union where he was a player-coach for the Sarnia Golden Bears, remaining there for two years, leaving in 1957.[3]

In 1958, Zaleski was hired as an assistant coach for his former team, the Blue Bombers,[4] winning the Grey Cup in 1959, 1961 and 1962. He remained in this position with Winnipeg until 1967 when he was named the team's head coach, replacing Bud Grant. As head coach, he compiled a record of 10–37–1 over three seasons and was eventually fired on November 20, 1969.[5] In 1970, he was hired as an assistant coach for the Edmonton Eskimos, a position he retained for two seasons, with him being fired along with another assistant, Al Benecick, on January 3, 1972.[5][6]

He married Louise Ann Savanyo of Tiltonsville, Ohio, around 1952 with whom he had five children, including a son, Slater, who played in the CFL. She died in Edmonton on November 8, 2013.[7] Zaleski died on September 10, 2016, aged 89.[8][9]


  1. "Los Angeles Times: Archives - Pennsylvanian New Winnipeg Grid Coach". 1968-10-22.,%201968&author=&pub=Los%20Angeles%20Times&edition=&startpage=&desc=Pennsylvanian%20New%20Winnipeg%20Grid%20Coach. Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  2. "Bomber Job to Zaleski". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. March 15, 1967.,2424093&dq=joe+zaleski&hl=en.
  3. "Sarnia Inks Joe Zaleski". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix: p. 25. May 16, 1956.,2402457&dq=joe+zaleski&hl=en.
  4. "Joe Zaleski With Bombers". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. May 6, 1958.,825562&dq=joe+zaleski&hl=en.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Joe Zaleski Named Edmonton Grid Aide". Youngstown Vindicator. December 25, 1969.,3383136&dq=joe+zaleski&hl=en.
  6. "Coaches cut". The Ottawa Citizen. January 4, 1971.,268933&dq=joe+zaleski+eskimos&hl=en.
  7. "Louise ZALESKI Obituary: View Louise ZALESKI's Obituary by Edmonton Journal". Retrieved 2013-11-18.
  9. Joseph ZALESKI
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.